THE BLOG
09/25/2011 04:31 pm ET Updated Nov 25, 2011

Truth in Advertising - Time for the Post Office to Come Clean

When New York City huddled down in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, public transportation was shut down, the stores ravaged of their goods and nearly all shops closed. Shoppers acted as if the end of the world would arrive. This is a storm tradition. Regardless of whether it is a winter storm warning or hurricane, shoppers rush to the stores to buy essentials as though the stores will never be open again... although everyone knows that a day or two after even the largest blizzards, most of the stores will be open.

One thing we know we can always rely on is the post office to not deliver in bad weather. Sure, we've all heard the phrase "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." It appears on the main post office in New York City and is often misquoted as a creed for the post office. It's a beautifully-worded, inspiring phrase, tracing back to Herodotus. Unfortunately it has no relevance whatsoever to the post office.

It is common knowledge that the post office struggles financially to manage the responsibilities it has placed on it while having to get approval from the Postal Rate Commission to change prices. It is a difficult position to succeed in, yet managing customer expectations might help. I would suggest they start by formally removing the inscription on the James Farley Post Office, along with a press release that says, "In keeping with the reality that all Americans have known for generations, we have decided to stop pronouncing that we deliver mail in inclement weather. We will do our best given the challenges that we face as a company but, in general, please remember that the less you expect from us, the less likely we will let you down."

In 2010, the post office boldly used a similar phrase in its holiday bulletin by stating "Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night will keep the Postal Service from doing what it does best" but failed to finish the sentence. So, I have a simple question -- does anyone have a good suggestion as to what the rest of that sentence should be?

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